If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have one thing to eat or drink, it’d be milk. But not processed, homongenized milk from a hundred cows mixed up together and infused with antibiotics or hormones. I’m talkin’ about REAL milk. Have you ever had it? Fresh from a cow (or goat, too), moments after, with the cream still on top. Some may say, “eeeew. fat,” but I say, “yummmm, fat, protein, sustenance.” I’m a vegetarian, and milk fuels me.

Besides, without milk, there would be no masala chai! Around here, our house is known as the chai house, and we’re the peeps writing the book about chai. There is even a sign outside that reads, “CHAI” with an arrow pointing at the door. Cardamon, ginger and cinnamon are usually the first smells one’s nose recognizes when entering. And, hot, bubblin’ chai is available most days or nights to friends who stop by. Patrick is the chai wallah (he’s rather controlling around the chai stove, but that’s ok since he makes the BEST). And me–I’m the supporting actress.

Surya had not had any ‘real’ milk since he left Nepal in January, so he was a happy camper the past month. Literally. I believe he drank his weight in dudh (white cow nectar). After we saw him off yesterday morning (he’s onto the next part of his journey), we went to our friends Joy and Robert‘s house. Joy is known as ‘the milk lady’. Pretty much any day of the week, we get fresh milk (and cheese, butter, or cream) from her, and it’s usually so soon after milking, that the milk is still luke warm. And oh-my, is it good. Joy and Robert live off the grid. They are the real deal. A windmill gives them power and pumps their well water. Last August, Joy taught me how to can food. I remember telling Joy my goal someday is to can enough food in the Fall to feed us ’til Spring–and I thought that was ambitious! Joy and Robert have enough food already canned to last them 2 years!

When we stopped by yesterday, Joy was beaming, “Bonnie had a baby this morning!” (Bonnie is who gives us milk.) We walked through the gate, and Momma Bonnie was moooo-ing and walking slowly alongside her little calf–I couldn’t believe she had just given birth and was on her feet already! She’s tough! Robert was behind the calf, holding up his back legs, helping him walk. The little one was a little fumbly, still dazed from entering into this waking-life outside his momma’s tummy. It made me sad when I realized why Bonnie was mooo-ing. They were walking towards separation, and Momma knew it. Joy said it’s something they have to do early. Otherwise, it’s impossible after a few days. She gave her baby a big kiss. I asked if I could take a picture–the two were just so sweet, but Bonnie was suspicious. She walked toward me, curious but focused and confident. Sweet Bonnie was intimidating! I got slightly nervous and snapped the photo without looking. She went straight to my camera, sniffed it and gave it a lick and some slobber. “She’s just protectin’ her baby,” Joy said. “Rightfully so!” I replied. “I’m sorry, Bonnie.” We watched as the baby went through a gate into a separate area. Bonnie, still swollen and sore, trompled a bush and squeezed behind a tree and tried to climb over the fence to reach her calf. I gave her a rub on her third eye. You’re a good momma, Bonnie. What else was there to say… Sigh.

On a lighter note, Joy said she’d teach me to milk Bonnie soon…Maybe I’m a nerd, but I’m really excited! Milking a cow is on my list of things to do in this life…!